May tells Putin ‘you will not suc­ceed’


• Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May Mon­day ac­cused Rus­sia of med­dling in elec­tions, hack­ing Western govern­ments and pur­su­ing its in­ter­ests “at any cost” as she warned Vladimir Putin: “We know what you are do­ing and you will not suc­ceed.”

In one of her most forthright at­tacks on the Rus­sian pres­i­dent, the prime min­is­ter ac­cused Rus­sia of “weaponiz­ing in­for­ma­tion” and “plant­ing fake sto­ries and pho­to­shopped images” in an at­tempt to un­der­mine the West.

Ad­dress­ing the Lord Mayor’s Ban­quet, May said Bri­tain will work with al­lies to “take the nec­es­sary ac­tion” to en­sure the Krem­lin does not suc­ceed in its cam­paign to “sow dis­cord in the West” and cause a split among NATO al­lies.

“We do not want to re­turn to the Cold War, or to be in a state of per­pet­ual con­fronta­tion,” she said.

Her speech comes amid claims Rus­sia sought to in­flu­ence the Amer­i­can elec­tions and fol­lows ev­i­dence sug­gest­ing Putin’s regime runs so­cial me­dia ac­counts de­signed to stir up racial and re­li­gious ten­sions in the U.K. and Europe.

One such ac­count, backed by the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment, tweeted a pic­ture of a Mus­lim woman on West­min­ster bridge dur­ing the ter­ror at­tack in March, al­leg­ing she ig­nored the in­jured and was talk­ing on her phone in­stead. The tweet stirred up a racist back­lash but it was later re­vealed a se­ries of other pho­to­graphs showed her look­ing shocked and up­set.

The gov­ern­ment has pre­vi­ously said the U.K. wants to work with Rus­sia but adopts an “en­gage but be­ware” strat­egy be­cause of fears about the way the coun­try op­er­ates.

Putin has made no se­cret of his use of pro­pa­ganda tools.

Speak­ing at the event in London last night, May said: “It is Rus­sia’s ac­tions which threaten the in­ter­na­tional order on which we all de­pend.

“Rus­sia’s il­le­gal an­nex­a­tion of Crimea was the first time since the Sec­ond World War that one sov­er­eign na­tion has forcibly taken ter­ri­tory from an­other in Europe.

“Since then, Rus­sia has fo­mented con­flict in the Don­bas, re­peat­edly vi­o­lated the na­tional airspace of sev­eral Euro­pean coun­tries, and mounted a sus­tained cam­paign of cy­ber es­pi­onage and dis­rup­tion.”

The prime min­is­ter added: “We know what you are do­ing. And you will not suc­ceed. Be­cause you un­der­es­ti­mate the re­silience of our democ­ra­cies, the en­dur­ing at­trac­tion of free and open so­ci­eties, and the com­mit­ment of Western na­tions to the al­liances that bind us.

“The U.K. will do what is nec­es­sary to pro­tect our­selves, and work with our al­lies to do like­wise.”

She called on Putin to “choose ... a dif­fer­ent path” and help pro­mote “in­ter­na­tional sta­bil­ity” by work­ing with other Western na­tions, not against them.


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